Despite growing concerns over the extrajudicial murders in the Philippines, the country will likely emerge as an improved investment destination, Mark Mobius said on Friday.
"Of course, it's a tragedy that anybody gets killed, but in the context of what's happened in the Philippines in the past and the commitment to law and order, I'm not too worried about it," the storied emerging markets investment cheerleader said on the sidelines of the Asia Private Equity and Venture Capital Summit in Singapore.
Mobius, who joined Franklin Templeton in 1987 to lead the Templeton Emerging Markets Fund, is currently the executive chairman at Templeton Emerging Markets Group.
The new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's "law-and-order" agenda has been blamed for a surge in extra-judicial killings. More than 3,800 people have been killed in Duterte's crackdown on drugs since the June 30 inauguration, Reuters reported last week.
The parliament has also been told of murders allegedly ordered by the Philippine president during his tenure as mayor of Davao city. Duterte has denied the allegations, but has also made comments indicating he condoned both those murders and ones since he took the country's top office.
In remarks that Mobius was likely unaware of, Duterte on Friday likened himself to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in a complimentary manner and said he would "be happy to slaughter" three million drug users and peddlers in his country, Reuters reported. Mobius didn't immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on whether the remarks change his views.
But Mobius was unconcerned about the investment climate in the country.
"The concern about the illicit killings is a minor issue. The big issue is how they implement true law and order and the degree to which Duterte is able to do that," Mobius said in his remarks at the conference.
Mobius did cite some concerns about how Duterte's "brash" remarks may affect foreign perceptions of the country.
The firebrand Duterte, who's style has often been compared with U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, has sparked concerns in markets due to his erratic outbursts, which have included threatening China with a "bloody" confrontation over disputes in the South China Sea.